Leicester

County Town of the County of Leicestershire


The name of Leicester comes from Old English. It is first recorded in Latinised form in the early ninth century as Legorensis civitatis and in Old English itself in an Anglo-Saxon Chronicle entry for 924 as Ligera ceastre (and, in various spellings, frequently thereafter). In the Domesday Book of 1086, it is recorded as Ledecestre.


The first element of the name is the name of a people, the Ligore (whose name appears in Ligera ceastre in the genitive plural form); their name came in turn from the river Ligor (now the River Soar), the origin of whose name is uncertain but thought to be from Brittonic (possibly cognate with the name of the Loire).
The first element of the name is the name of a people, the Ligore (whose name appears in Ligera ceastre in the genitive plural form); their name came in turn from the river Ligor (now the River Soar), the origin of whose name is uncertain but thought to be from Brittonic (possibly cognate with the name of the Loire).

The second element of the name is the Old English word ceaster ("(Roman) fort, fortification, town", itself borrowed from Latin castrum).

A list of British cities in the ninth-century History of the Britons includes one Cair Lerion; Leicester has been proposed as the place to which this refers (and the Welsh name for Leicester is CaerlÅ·r). But this identification is not certain.

Based on the Welsh name (given as Kaerleir), Geoffrey of Monmouth proposes a king Leir of Britain as an eponymous founder in his Historia Regum Britanniae (12th century).

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